Sunday, January 22, 2012

Farro Risotto with Bacon and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Risotto is my stress-relieving kitchen production. I find standing at the stove, marrying the ingredients, watching the grains transform, to be relaxing. I don't even mind the stirring. In fact, the stirring is, perhaps, the entire point. Half an hour to myself, with nothing more difficult at hand than adding warm, savory broth to glistening grains. (At least, that's the ideal; the children often have other ideas.)

I created this flavorful dish one night this past autumn. Farro, also called Emmer wheat, makes a hearty risotto, perfect for a rainy day or snowy evening. It cooks up to a nice chewiness reminiscent of al dente rice. I buy farro in bulk from Whole Foods or in packages from a local Italian grocery store.

I like to use turkey broth (or homemade stock when we have it) in dishes that have ham or bacon as the sole meat, such as this risotto or bean soup. We rarely have ham stock on hand, and I've found the flavor of the turkey broth is not as strong as that of chicken broth and marries much better with the smoked pork.

Farro Risotto with Bacon and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
3 lobes shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
4 slices bacon, chopped
4 c. turkey stock or broth
2 c. water 

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and quartered
Olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 T. olive oil
1 c. farro
1/2 c. dry white wine (I like to use a Sauvignon Blanc.)

In a Dutch oven or large saucier pan over medium-low heat, saute shallot, garlic and bacon. Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine the turkey stock and water and heat through. Keep warm.

In an oven-safe casserole dish or roasting pan, toss Brussels sprouts with a bit of olive oil and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes.

Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and the farro to the bacon mixture. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the white wine and stir. When the wine has been absorbed, add 1/2 cup of the warm stock to the pan. Stir frequently, adding another 1/2 cup liquid when the first has been absorbed. Continue in this manner until all of the stock has been absorbed by the farro. Stir in the Brussels sprouts, heating through if necessary, and serve.

Copyright 2012

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